Thursday, February 28, 2008

Just Rambling

It's very clear and cold this morning but thankfully it's also sunny. Last night we must have had close to 50 deer in the field across the road from the house - it was too dark when I saw them to get pictures and I knew I needed to take care of the chickens.

Speaking of which...we got the most interesting looking egg from them yesterday. It is only about a third of the size of a "normal" egg and is slightly rounder. I talked to Suz about it - she is rejoicing that I got the chicken that lays these tiny eggs - she says I will likely get one every couple of weeks or so. Hers were perfectly round and anywhere from the size of a dime to a half dollar - she said they only had the white in them. So I am looking forward to cracking this one to see what is inside it. I promised Squirrel that he could use it next time he baked anything.

Stretch is not feeling well again - it seems that it's probably because he is out of some of his allergy meds. I really need to figure out how to help with those naturally. Squirrel has been back at school all week - but he is definitely not feeling 100% yet. He fell asleep doing his reading last night - and this was a book he had chosen to read rather than something assigned. He's has requested not to go to TaeKwonDo tonight - we do have Grief Group to go to but I am thankful for the opportunity to have a wee bit of time at home. He will also miss TaeKwonDo again on this coming Tuesday because he has Math Bowl competition. He is excited about that and I think has really impressed his principal who is one of the coaches.

I spent yesterday all day with the bus - I took two groups of preschoolers to the local library in addition to my regular routes and kindergarten shuttle. It was fun and very easy. However during the day we had just enough snow to cover my driveway with a half inch or so. This made it impossible for me to get up the driveway - I ended up stuck across the road and had to be pulled up. This morning I drove up forwards instead of attempting to back up - I made it but not without really flooring it and some sliding.

Guess that is enough rambling...I have some other stuff to do yet on the computer and really want to at least get the kitchen counters cleaned - doing 15 minutes at a time.

This is one of my amaryllis plants in the family room - it's actually a result of a bulb off my original plant. They have been producing and blooming every year for the past 2 or 3 years. I even have ones to give's really fun.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

I don't Understand

Check out this story

I "know" this family as last school year I had the little boy on my bus. I remember getting a phone call from the mom of another student on my bus saying that her child was concerned that this little boy was being abused and wanting his address. I legally could not give it to her according to my transportation secretary. I also did not see any signs of abuse - his mom was always at the door of the trailer to see him off. She was very concerned about how he was doing on the bus - being as little as he was he had trouble staying seated complicated by the fact that he had some common health issues. I always found her very supportive whenever I contacted her. And I knew that she stayed in contact with the school as I often saw her at the school. I knew there were some cleanliness issues - clothes not clean, face not clean, etc. but I put it down to just the fact that I had gathered that the family was very poor. So to hear on the news that he had been living in such atrocious conditions and that his parents had been arrested for child neglect just breaks my heart. I feel a bit guilty for not following up more on him when the other student's parent approached me. And I ache for the turmoil the boy has got to be going through - being removed from his home and parents and thrown into a completely new situation. I also hurt for the parents as I am sure they are grieving. I don't understand how or why a parent can neglect a child's living conditions that severely - one would think they would ask for help somewhere.

Winter Wonderland

We woke up to a winter wonderland this morning - puffs of snow on the trees under which you can just about see bumps of buds that are getting ready to open. Just Sunday evening while out on a walk with B I found daffodil shoots coming up in one area. It is still snowing lightly and blowing. Soon Stretch and I will be heading outside to start shoveling the drive. I am sort of expecting my boss to come plow eventually but in the meantime I'm going to take advantage of the exercise and start shoveling. Besides I need to get to the chicken coop with fresh water for them and to collect eggs.

I have just about finished my project that I was working on for B. I am now to the point that I need to have him sit with me and go through stuff before I can completely finish it. That will be good to have done. I hope this week - and possibly even today - to get back to scanning slides for Mom and Dad. I haven't worked on that in some time and really need to get it done. Besides, going through those slides brings of memories of my childhood days and that's rather fun.

Squirrel is finally better though he still tires very easily. He went to school yesterday and stayed for Math Bowl practice. He put himself to bed early last night though and actually dozed a bit this morning after we got the call that we were closed for today. (I am really glad that we didn't start with a delay but just went straight to closing). Stretch is thoroughly enjoying play practice and so far is still fitting in time for a run afterwards. Dipstick was home sick from school yesterday. However this morning he seemed better - I think it was probably a 24 hour stomach bug. If they hadn't canceled he would have missed school but this way he gets the day to recover without having to miss one.

Well all my pictures are lined up on the right side! I hope that someday I will figure out how to line them up on alternating sides but not right now. In the meantime...this one was taken from the deck looking down towards the road. The middle one was out the back door looking towards the woods - notice the snow on the fence. The top one was out the front door - looking towards the fruit trees. We had NO snow on the lawn yesterday except for the bits that were in piles from being plowed earlier. Needless to say we got a fair bit.

Edited to add: According to my most "unofficial" measurements we got 6 inches. We measured in a couple of places on the driveway while Stretch and I were out shoveling. Between the two of us, we have about half the hill shoveled...the shoveled areas clear off fast but it's definitely hard work. And it was still snowing lightly though I'm not really expecting any more accumulation.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Well Squirrel is home from school today - running fever, headache and puking overnight. He's comfortably ensconced in bed with legos, movies, crackers, tissues and water. I on the other hand am desperately in need of a nap as I didn't get enough sleep last night. I am rather hoping that there will be a sub able to drive my afternoon route today...I've already got my kindergarten shuttle covered for the day. Of course I do have paperwork to do to get my Twinkie tossing student dealt with! Thankfully I now know for sure who it was as it was caught on video. And I caught the same student yesterday throwing a piece of pencil.

Other than that not too much is going on. It is much warmer today than yesterday...there is a dusting of snow on the driveway and the sun is shining again. Stretch had the first read-through of his script yesterday afternoon - brought the script and the soundtrack home so he can start learning it. Tonight we will hopefully install the new water softener and maybe install a hook on the top part of the chicken coop door so that I can make it stay open during the day. Sally dog is outside going nuts barking at something.

Time to go get ready to pick up my two Amish boys - since I'm not doing the shuttle I normally wouldn't take them. However Suz is not available today so I am going to take the car and go get them. At least that way I won't be gone an hour and a half - it should just be 30 min. or so.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Chickens & Musicals

9' this morning! Down from low 50's on Sunday! We have just a light dusting of snow on the ground and it's very windy though definitely less so than overnight.

On the agenda for today: blog, laundry - wash, dry and fold, dishes, work on a project for B - it has a deadline, figure out how to get some exercise...I am sure there is more but that's all I can think of at the moment. Last night I was out fairly late at B's working on a different project than the one I'm doing here at home. Sunday night I did a evening run to Graybil. Two late nights adds up.

We have chickens now - brought them home Saturday evening. We've had 4-5 eggs a day since. It's exciting for me. I just have to figure out how to get them to use their roosts rather than the nest boxes. I also still need to get cracked corn to supplement their feed and to encourage them to scratch more. Squirrel is excited to gather the eggs as well - I have hopes that this will encourage him to try eating them. Come this spring I will be getting 20 more as chicks. Some will be the Amerecanas that lay colored eggs.

On a different note - Stretch got the part of Mr. Bahr in the musical Little Women that the high school is putting on this spring. It's the part that he kind of wanted during try-outs. I'm thrilled for him though I know it will be an incredible amount of work. He is planning on continuing his running as much as possible in between practices.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

This morning is a beautiful sunny morning - the sun is glistening on the snowflakes on the ground while more flakes fall lightly. The driveway is plowed though I shoveled some this morning yet before it got plowed yet there is already a very light dusting on the ground again. When the sun came up it was glorious - an arrow of light pointing towards the heavens from a reddish orange ball. Made me think of the Doxology:

Praise God from Whom all blessings flow
Praise Him all creatures here below
Praise Him above ye heavenly host;
Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Let it Snow!

Let it snow! Yesterday we were supposed to get snow overnight - possibly a couple of inches. However we only got a dusting - just enough to have to shovel the driveway before we left for school and bus route this morning. Stretch did a tremendous job after he got off the bus this afternoon - as it had been snowing all afternoon and we had another inch at least. I still got stuck across the road - which had not been sanded yet and had to call for help. My boss came out and was able to drive the bus up the hill - while waiting on him I spread ashes under the wheels and was able to get it mostly out of the road. I shoveled over an hour today - for now it's stopped snowing. We will see what the morning brings.

Other than that not too much is going on. Last week we had floods, lots of fog and very little snow. Then the temps dropped to below freezing over the weekend and now we have snow. The weather has been very very strange this winter.

Stretch is now running at home as track practice has started. He is not going to do track this year as he wants to try out for the musical that will be performed in the spring. This will be his first experience acting in a "real" play so it should be interesting. Squirrel, on the other hand, is now busier than ever - in addition to TaeKwonDo he is participating in the Math Bowl that the elementary school is involved in. They will have one competition in a month or so. In the meantime though he has practice 2 or 3 afternoons a week - on the days he doesn't have TaeKwonDo classes. Math is his favorite subject in school so he is enjoying that.

I was hoping to be able to capture the snow flakes as they were coming down. Unfortunately that didn't happen. However all the snow in the picture has fallen in the last 24 hours or so.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Just got in from attempting to shovel the driveway again. It's not that the snow is exceedingly deep this morning - it's that the temperatures must have dropped so dramatically last night that everything - including the slushy snow we'd had in the space of an hour or so yesterday "flash froze". It was very strange - it went from rain to sleet to big heavy wet snow flakes in the space of an hour yesterday afternoon - just in time for afternoon bus route. Made the route very interesting at best - there were several very slick areas.

O.K. I started writing this this morning before I went on my bus route. The roads were all ice under the slight layer of snow - I was the last bus in to the elementary school this morning as I deliberately ran slow which made me run late. The weather this winter has been extremely strange. I am very glad that we had a scheduled 2 1/2 hour delay this morning - I would not have wanted to drive my route in the dark. (This makes 4 days this week we've gone to school late!) By Sunday we are supposed to be back in the teens temperature-wise - tomorrow they are predicting rain again.

Other than that not too much is going on. With the delays I really don't feel like I've accomplished much of anything this week - there's not been enough time at home and the house shows it. Even in the evenings we've been out running. I guess I had better scoot and load the dishwasher and swap laundry loads at least.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

No Cancellation

It's 8:20 am and all the school districts around us have closed. We were on a 2 hour fog/flood delay but apparently are not going to close. The fog was so bad yesterday that I actually missed stops and got turned around on my afternoon route. Suz says that it's worse today. I am not looking forward to this. Around here the fog isn't too bad - Dipstick (who is closed again today) says it's pretty thick up by him. B is at work.

This weekend was wild - we were closed on Friday. Saturday the roads weren't too bad and we were able to get the driveway cleared. Sunday night we had another 3 inches or so of wet heavy snow - Stretch and I used our 2 hour delay yesterday to shovel it off. We had just finished the hill and were calling it quits when my boss showed up with his plow. He finished off the top - I generally leave that if I'm hand shoveling due to it being flat.

I now have a chicken coop at my house - it was brought down on Sunday afternoon. One door hinge broke but otherwise it traveled safely. Now it's a matter of replacing the hinge, getting feed, straw and nest boxes in. Then I will be able to bring the chickens home. I guess I will probably put a fence around it as well so they don't roam all over the place...not sure if I will fence the coop area or the garden to protect it.

I'd better scoot - just about time to run my bus route.

Edited to add: The bus route was definitely challenging this morning. North of the main E/W highway visibility was about 1/4 mile - better than yesterday afternoon but still not good at all. Also...after I picked up my first student I ended up having to back out about 1/2 mile of washed out dirt road to a place I could turn around at. There were no signs up warning one of a washout or deep water over the road so I didn't realize it until I was right there already. That had me running a solid 10 minutes late on the entire route. Fun times indeed! And sleet is predicted for tomorrow.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Snowed In Again

This is what I woke up to this morning - Stretch had made coffee and started a fire in the fireplace. We are off school today due to snow - I think we were one of the last districts to cancel. However when I heard that the police were requesting people to stay off the roads I knew we would. Snow now seems to have tapered off quite a bit - fizzled almost to nothing. I didn't think that was supposed to happen for another hour or so. We certainly didn't get the 11-15 inches that were predicted. I would guess that we probably have 4-6 inches but have not yet been outside to measure it.
La phoned this morning - she is also snowed in at home. We had a good chat. While we did so, the boys took Christmas ornaments off the tree and set them on the coffee table in the family room. The hope is that we can all work on putting them away while watching a movie rather than me doing it all on my own. (I know...I should have been done a month ago but life has been busy. At least it's not March.) For me it's always enjoyable to remember who made the different handmade ornaments and when they were given to us. Both boys have a good collection of ornaments to take with them when they move out of the house - both handmade and purchased.

This afternoon Stretch and I will go bring in storage containers for the Christmas stuff. We will likely also work on shoveling the drive as I don't expect to get plowed out until tomorrow at the earliest. Squirrel will have to stay inside as he's been running a fever. I had him to the doctor last night - he's now on a z-pack. The nice thing about that is that he will only have 2 days to remember to take it once Monday comes - rather than having to take it 3 times daily for 10 days. While we were out we did our grocery shopping for the next couple of weeks. The stores were crowded and later in the evening when I went back with B to do his there were large empty areas on the shelves where the store was sold out of milk, bread and other staples.

Here's a view from the side door out onto the deck looking towards the road - you can barely see that the road is even there. It would probably be really nice sledding for the boys.

Lunch is over so I'd better head off to get bundled up to go outside. Stretch has been looking for excuses to put this off but it must be done.